The California High-Speed Rail Authority has received statements of qualifications to build the 60-mile second phase of high-speed rail construction from Fresno south to the Tulare-Kern County line near Bakersfield.

After the review of applications, they will finalise firms that have to provide design-build services for the second phase of Construction Project 2-3 (CP 2-3), which is worth between $1.5 and $2bn.

The five firms that submitted statements of qualifications were California Rail Builders, Dragados/Flatiron/Shimmick, Golden State Rail Partnership, the Skanska/Ames joint venture, and the Tutor Perini/Zachry/Parsons joint venture.

"These construction teams represent international interest in helping deliver California’s rail project."

California High-Speed Rail Authority CEO Jeff Morales said: "These five, world-class construction teams represent international interest in helping deliver California’s high-speed rail project, a transformative investment in California’s future.

"The authority will carefully review these applications and select the most highly qualified firms to submit proposals to design and build the next 60 miles of high-speed rail."

The finalised firms will be eligible to submit formal design-build proposals in 2014. They will be responsible for providing final designs for bridges, culverts, trenches and tunnels, utility relocations, aerial structures, grade separations, security and drainage.

Apart from providing several new jobs to the Central Valley, the design-build contract will relieve roadway congestion and encourage economic development.

The environmental clearance for the route is expected by summer of 2014.

According to the authority, by 2029 high-speed rail will run from San Francisco to the Los Angeles basin within three hours at speeds of more than 200mph.

The authority awarded a contract for design and construction of Construction Package 1 in June.